Jul 23, 2020 - Politics & Policy

ACLU lawsuit accuses police of attacking Portland volunteer medics

Federal officers deploy  tear gas in Portland, Oregon on July 21, 2020.
Federal officers deploy tear gas in Portland, Ore., on Tuesday. Photo: John Rudoff/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Wednesday on behalf of volunteer medics alleging that local and federal law enforcement officials have been "targeting and attacking" them during protests in Portland, Oregon.

Details: The suit, filed against the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Marshals Service and City of Portland, argues that attacks on medics violates the First and Fourth Amendments. The ACLU is seeking a court order prohibiting law enforcement from taking such action.

"Volunteer medics should be celebrated, not attacked or arrested."
statement by Jann Carson, interim executive director of the ACLU of Oregon

The big picture: It's the latest lawsuit filed in connection with officers' response to the demonstrations in Portland.

  • The ACLU has also filed a suit against the City of Portland and the Trump administration on behalf of journalists and legal observers the group alleges were attacked by police while covering the protests. A motion to add federal agents to that order is pending before the court, with arguments scheduled for Thursday.
  • On Wednesday, a federal judge heard arguments in a lawsuit filed by Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, who accused federal agents of unlawful tactics following reports that some in unmarked vehicles detained Portland protesters without explanation, per AP. The suit seeks a restraining order against such action.

The other side: The Trump administration and City of Portland did not immediately respond to Axios' requests for comment.

  • However, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said Tuesday federal agents "will not retreat" from Portland. "The smear attacks leveled against our officers is disgusting," he said.

Read the medics' complaint, via DocumentCloud:

Go deeper: In photos: Portland protests unrest amid presence of federal agents

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